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universe should have a Governor; and they are pleased with the government of God. As there is no doctrine which brings God so near to men, in all the majesty of his power and glory of his goodness, as that of his universal providence and agency; so there is no ether doctrine so well adapted to try the hearts and test the charac ters of men, and to show 'who are on the Lord's side.' Hence,
8. We may see that the doctrine taught in our text, is of a very prachical nature and tendency. As it draws the line between the friends and the enemies of God, its natural effect is, to edify the one, and alarm the other. When sinners understand and believe this doctrinc, they perceive that they have been fighting against God; and that, in their present course, they cannot hope to prosper. While, on the other hand, a belief and love of this doctrine lead saints to acknowledge God in all their ways-to be thankful to Him, as the bestower of every good and every perfect gift, for all the good they enjoy, through whatever means and instruments it may come; and to submit to his will, 'without whom not a sparrow falls, and there is not evil in a city,' under all the pain and persecution which they may endure, with a willingness to receive evil, as well as good, at the hand of the Lord.' This doctrine is directly calculated to lead saints to repose the most unlimited trust and confidence in God, respecting all future events; since it teaches them that God knows, and can and will do what is best; and consequently, that there is, and ever will be, neither more nor less light or darkness, good or evil, than will best subserve the interest of the universe, promote the happiness of all holy creatures, and advance the glory of God, in the highest degree. Wherefore "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." AMEN.
For the Hopkinsian Magazine. REVIVAL MEASURES-No. 3.
Before I proceed to consider the different present and permanent effects of the two different methods of promoting revivals that I have described, it may be well to premise a few considerations. It is certainly wise to keep in view our old and scriptural land marks, lest we split upon some fatal rock.
It is a scriptural and obvious truth that the hearts of all impeni:tent sinners, whose salvation revivals of religion are expected to secure, are in a state of enmity against the true God, and the true way of salvation. While unregenerate, the more they see of the true character of Christ, the more they are disposed to hate both him and his Father. The heart of Christ is all benevolence, and set supremely on the highest good of the universe, to promote which, he is constantly forming, wing and disposing of every creature in
heaven, earth, and hell. But every impenitent sinner is all bound up in selfishness; he loves his own private good supremely, because it is his own, and not because it is a part of God's universal kingdom; and consequently hates every being and object, as soon as he believes they are likely to interfere with this object. Their eyes are evil, because God is good. Their selfish love is stronger than death, and leads them to hate God, reject the infinite authority of his holy law, and spurn the kind and gracious invitations of the gospel of his Son. Their hearts are so desperately wicked, that all the motives and moral power in the universe, utterly fail to turn them to holiness, until the omnipotent hand of the Spirit causes them to submit. As we should naturally suppose, their hearts are also deceitful above all things. They will love or hate God and Christ, and saints, and the world, just as they appear friendly or unfriendly to their own private good. They will love any religious errors better than any divine truths, when seen in a true light, imitate any false experience and self-righteous feeling, walk in every road to death, rather than take the road to life, and cordially embrace any false view of religion, if they are not constantly shut up to the true They will faith, a thousand times sooner than the gospel of Christ. deceive themselves and all others, if the true light of the gospel is And even not continually made to blaze upon them like the sun. then, many will deceive themselves and others, shut up their eyes, and stumble down to death over some false religious experience.
It is another scriptural and obvious truth, that all real christians are very imperfect. They all have much more ignorance than knowledge, spiritual pride than humility, self-complacency and self-conceit than self-abhorrence and self-distrust, and much more self-csteem than self-loathing and brokenness of spirit. Though they are not so apt to trust in their own hearts, as impenitent sinners are; yet they are generally much more disposed to trust in themselves than in the Lord. And in most churches, if not every church, there is reason to fear there are some, whose religion is all self-righteousHence it is much easier to enkindle a false fire in a church and make it burn and spread, than a true flame of divine love. There is much more hay, wood, and stubble, in every church, and in the heart of every christian, than pure gold. False affections, false zeal, false religion and false philanthropy, are more indigenous plants in the soil of every heart, than the graces of the spirit.
Christian churches are entirely dependant upon God for revivals of religion. Without him they can do nothing. The planting of Paul and the watering of Apollos, will all be in vain, unless he is But blessed be his name, he can pleased to give the increase. work, and none can hinder. Hence it is infinitely more important to secure the divine favor, than that of all the world beside. And to do this, we must acknowledge, and honor, and obey him. He is a jealous God. He means to make all the world know that he is the Lord. He is jealous for the honor of his great name, for his truth, and for the glory of his sovereign grace.
God certainly knows better than all creatures, what means are
the best adapted to glorify his name, and promote the sanctification and salvation of souls. We should naturally suppose, therefore, that in his revelation to man, he would have appointed the means of grace. And if we look into the Bible, it is easy to see that he has plainly directed his people what means to use in their efforts to promote his cause, and how to use them. He has said he will be enquired of by the house of Israel when he truly helps them. He has said, "Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Isreal had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned mine hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord, should have submitted themselves unto him." And he has expressly commanded his ambassadors, to "declare all the counsel of God." He said unto Ezekiel, "Son of man, 1 send thee to the children of Issael. Be not afraid of them, though briars and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions; be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee: Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house." He said unto Jeremiah, "Thou, therefore, gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them." And this solemn threatening God told the corrupt priests in the days of Malachi, he had actually inflicted upon them. "Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.” Christ said to his disciples, and through them to all his ministers, "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Beware of men." He forewarns them of the treatment they would receive; that a depraved world would surely "say to the seers, see not, and to the prophets, prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits: get out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us." But although he knew that a revolted world would hate his gospel, he does not allow his ambassadors to conceal any part of it. His imperious command to them is, "Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak unto all which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them, diminish not a word."
If we now examine the examples of Moses and the faithful prophets, Jesus Christ and his apostles, we may derive much light in respect to the means of grace. Moses says, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass, because I will publish the name of the Lord." Christ said, just before he was crucified, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it.” The 4th chapter of Luke contains one specimen of his declaring the
name of the Lord, and informs us that "all they in the synagogue, when they heard those things, were filled with wrath, and rose up to destroy him." In the 17th chapter of Acts, we have recorded an abstract of one of Paul's sermons to the refined people of Athens, where he found an altar inscribed "to the unknown God;" "whom, therefore," said he, "ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." He then illustrated the omnipotence, the omnipresence, the independence, the purposes, the agency, and the holiness of God; which was the means of converting Dionysius, Damaus, and several others. The noted sermon of Peter, on the day of Pentecost, which is the most successful on divine record, brought God fully into view, in his perfect foreknowledge and sovereign purposes respecting the sins of men, his effectual calling, and eternal design to glorify himself in the great work of redemption; the freedom and wickedness of man in fulfilling God's determinate council, and the activity and moral obligation of the sinner in respect to regeneration. Paul said to one of the churches to which he preached, "I have not shunned to declare unto you and the full counsel of God." And if his preaching in general had any affinity to his epistles, it is certain that his preaching, so eminently successful, abounded with close reasoning, and solid demonstration respectiug the primary doctrines and duties of the gospel. In particular, he must have dwelt much upon the ultimate design of God in creation aud redemption, his universal decrees and agency, absolute sovereignty and special grace, election and reprobation, the total sinfulness and entire dependance of man, salvation by grace in opposition to works, saints perseverance, constant obligation and perfect natural ability of sinners to obey all the divine commands, the universal atonement of Christ, and endless punishment. These doctrines and duties, together with the perfection and obligation of the divine law, the activity of the creature while acted upon, the invitations, promises, and threatenings of the gospel, the duty of disinterested benevolence, unconditional submission and unlimited self-denial, and the great obligation of Christians to be watchful prayerful and devoted only to Christ, hold a very prominent place in his epistles. And no intelligent candid person can study the bible, and the example of Christ and the apostles, without being convinced that God has plainly pointed out and enjoined the means which his people ought to use in promoting his cause upon earth; and that these means are honestly exhibiting and enforcing all the counsel of God, praying in the spirit, and keeping the heart with all diligence, that our example may enforce the truths of the gospel. A LAYMAN.
[To be continued.]
ALL FOR THE BEST.
[We republish the following piece, on account of the ability with which it is written, and the complete refutation which it contains, of one of the grossest errors propagated at this time among the noninally orthodox. We ask those who have seen it in the form of a Tract, to excuse its insertion, for the sake of that large portion of our readers, who, we presume, have not before seen it.—ED.]
"When we look at the various evils with which we are surrounded, and confine our view to them alone, how very undesirable they appear. What matter of regret it seems that they should exist;and how much better it would seem to be if they could all be avoided, and the whole universe contain nothing but good. But they do exist; and some will continue to exist forever. Sin and misery abound in this world; and, according to the scriptures, many will be the subjects of sin and misery in the world to come. Can any good come out of this? Or must every benevolent being, in the view of it, sit down forever in unavailing sorrow? Must we wish this world had never been made, since it contains so much evil?-Shall we think that God might have done better than he has done; and consequently feel unable to accord to him that respect and esteem which we could have felt if he had done better? Shall we believe that God is disappointed in the result of his works; and that the end he had in view will fail of being accomplished? Will the Divine Being himself, in the final issue of things, wish this world had never been made, and find his happiness forever destroyed by the evils which have marred his work, and defeated its end? Or, is there reason to believe that no evil exists, but what is connected with some good sufficient to overbalance the evil? Would it not be a great source of comfort to every benevolent mind, when contemplating the evil it sees, if it could be made to appear that there is a good reason for them all; a reason, in view of which it is better that they should exist than that they should not? Must it not appear highly desirable, to every one that loves God, to be able to believe, on good grounds, that he has done wisely and well, in all that he has done; and that he will not fail, in the end, to bring into existence the highest possible amount of good, in the intelligent universe?
It is declared in the scriptures, that "all things work together for good to them that love God." This cannot mean, merely, that the personal good of the saints is secure, and that all things tend to promote it. The saints are benevolent beings. The highest good of the universe is the object on which they have set their hearts.Nothing will satisfy their benevolent desires but the accomplishment of that great object. They love God supremely; and wish to see him. glorified. They also love their fellow creatures; and wish them the greatest possible good. That God may be glorified in the highest degree, all his perfections must be exercised in the fullest manner, and be exhibited to the best advantage. His wisdom and goodness,